The Paleo Diet – Everything You Need To Know

Have you been delaying the start of your diet? Have you been promising yourself for months that you’ll start soon, but just cannot bring yourself to commence the diet? If you’re struggling to find that extra boost of will to get going then maybe you’re just looking in the wrong places.

There are many diets available for you to start and some might be more appealing than others. The amount available might seem endless but with a little bit of research you can find the perfect one for you.

One diet that provides something different and sits away from the traditional ‘eat less and move more’ diet idea is the paleo diet. The diet is set apart from modern diets and is based on the diet of a caveman.

It might sound like a strange diet but we’re going to explain the diet in detail and outline why it might just be the perfect one for you.

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What is a paleo diet?

The term ‘paleo diet’ was coined buy Loren Cordain who released his book ‘The Paleo Diet’ in 2002. In his book he also referred to the diet as the ‘caveman diet’ and ‘stone-age diet’ too. The diet gained notoriety but things really took off when it became popular back in 2012 when it was brought to the forefront again.

A paleo diet is the oldest diet that exists and is based on the Palaeolithic era. This stone-age era describes a 2.6 million year-long era when humans were at a different evolutionary era.

The foundations of the diet are based against the processed foods that many of us rely on and it replaces these with the natural foods available to us, and the ones that would have been eaten by man in the Palaeolithic era.

Why is the paleo diet so effective for weight loss?

The diet has already helped a number of people lose weight and the results have been well publicized. There have been positive studies into the diet and it has been proven to be effective for weight loss.

The diet is firstly high in protein, which is key to why the diet is effective for weight loss. High protein diets are known for increasing your metabolism whilst helping reduce your appetite. This is great for anyone trying to lose weight and the paleo diet provides around 30% of its calories from protein.

Getting too many carbohydrates in your diet is one of the main reasons for being overweight. We’ve previously talked about very low calorie diets and how they enable effective weight loss and this is also a factor with the paleo diet. Because common carbs like rice and bread are not part of the diet, this will be a contributing factor to the overall weight loss gains.

The paleo diet also reduces the number of calories that you’re taking on. The diet is beneficial too because although the calorie intake is limited, the foods that you will be eating are very filling. The foods in the diet have also been shown to produce hormones that keep you fuller after eating a meal.

One of the main factors of the diet is that it eliminates modern processed foods that are the main contributing factor to the current weight problems of our time. The emphasis is instead put on lean and natural products, which are rich in nutrients and much lower in calories.

Like the high amount of foods in the modern diet, sugar has also been a major problem for people all over the world. The increased obesity levels and diabetes problems have been largely caused by the over use of sugar in foods we eat. This is another reason why the paleo diet is good for weight loss because it removes adding sugar to altogether and just promotes natural sources of sugar from fruits and vegetables.

In addition the weight loss the diet provides, there are also other benefits. A 5-week trial of the diet showed that the diet reduced the amount of fat in the participant’s liver, as well as reduced cholesterol and blood pressure.

How to begin a paleo diet?

There are different ways to carry out the paleo diet and this is because paleolithic humans lived on a number of different diets. Some would have been surviving on low-carb diets, which were high in animal foods, and others would be going by on a high-carb diet plan with lots of plants. This means that the diet can be adaptable to suit your needs and can be adapted to fit your own personal preferences.

The most important aspects of the diet are to know what foods that can and cannot be eaten. We’ve outlined the basics below:

Foods to eat on the paleo diet

Below is a list of foods you should definitely be eating while sticking to the diet

  • Fish – trout, haddock, prawns, cod, salmon etc.
  • Meat – lamb, turkey, chicken, pork and others.
  • Fruit – oranges, apples, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, oranges, lemons and more.
  • Vegetables – peppers, kales, tomatoes, carrots, and more.
  • Tubers – sweet potatoes, turnips, potatoes and more.
  • Eggs
  • Seeds & Nuts

Foods to avoid on the paleo diet

In order for the Paleo Diet to work for you, you’ll need to make sure you don’t eat any of the following foods/drinks:

  • Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Soft drinks
  • Dairy products
  • Sweeteners
  • Margarine
  • Trans fats
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Rye
  • Barely
  • Wheat
  • Lentils
  • Beans

In summary the basic principles are to avoid foods that have been produced in a factory. You need to just be eating food that’s natural. Where possible, you also need to select grass-fed, pasture raised and organic produce. The least processed options possible are closer to the Paleolithic type of foods that would have been eaten.

The diet has also changed over the last few years and has been adapted into different varieties. This means that other food and drinks that have been added in and some that would not have exited during the Paleolithic period.

These include:

  • Bacon – from organic and free-range pigs
  • Butter – from grass-fed cows
  • Rice – from non-gluten grains
  • Dark chocolate – one that is 70% or higher in cocoa content

Fluids will also be key during the paleo diet and be sure to remove all artificial drinks from your diet. Tea is allowed, and green tea is particularly so. Coffee is also allowed; just don’t add any sugar or sweeteners. As with most healthy diets, water should be your main source of hydration.

How long should I be on a paleo diet?

The paleo diet is very much a lifestyle change, and once started, people typically stay on the diet for the rest of their life. This level of commitment should be taken into consideration before you start and be sure to ascertain if this is the diet for you.

Supporting up your weight loss with supplements

There are also some supplements that you might consider taking whilst on the paleo diet.

Many people are deficient from vitamin D and it is a very important nutrient. Add this supplement to your daily diet and your body will thank you for it.

Fish oil would also be a good supplement to take when you aren’t getting enough fish in your diet, and is great for people who do not want to eat fish all the time.

Paleo diet side effects

As we mentioned in the ketogenic diet one of the side effects of your body moving to burning fat is that it will go into a state of ketosis. A by-product of ketosis is a acetone and this produces a distinct smell and this will make your breath smell.

The initial start of the diet will also make you crave the foods that you’ve removed. Many processed foods are specifically made to be addictive so you will miss sugary and carby foods.

Conclusion

The paleo diet is in some ways more of a lifestyle change than a diet. The diet will most likely appeal to people that love eating meat and vegetarians might be put off. However, the diet is still possible for vegetarians though and could still be beneficial for people who don’t meat.

We’ve given you the basis of the diet and how to best follow it, so you can now decide whether the paleo diet is for you. If you do decide to go with the diet then make sure you’re fully prepped and ready to take on the challenge.

As always, let us know how you get on and keep us up to date with the progress you make. Good luck!